Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing

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This is a great useable Gullwing with all the right attributes; a good file, famous ownership, originality, low mileage from new and a stunning colour combination.  

Rudge-Wheels - Ex Bernie Ecclestone

United KingdomLocation: United Kingdom
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Gullwing, the popular name for the Mercedes 300 SL coupé, is probably the greatest and most successful supercar of all time. Throughout the model's long life the name 'Gullwing' has highlighted the car's unique feature, the lift-up gull-wing doors necessitated by the 300 SL's elaborate multi-tubular space-frame chassis. Conceived and developed in 1951, the 300 SL proved a fast and reliable competition sports car. In 1952, the original 300SL (model Mercedes-Benz W194) scored overall wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in Bern-Bremgarten, in the sportscar race of the Eifelrennen at the Nürburgring, and in Mexico's Carrera Panamericana. It also managed second and fourth places at its first outing, the Mille Miglia in 1952.

The decision to create a road going SL was largely due to Mercedes-Benz's American distributor, the formidable Max Hoffman. While attending a 1954 meeting of the Daimler-Benz Board of Directors, Hoffman argued passionately for a production version of the 300SL racing car. According to legend, despite initial objections the determined Hoffman prevailed and left Germany with a commitment for the construction of 1,000 SLs.

The sleek body design was a classic case of form following function. The attractive bulges over the wheel openings, for instance, actually improved high-speed stability, and the two longitudinal hood bulges and distinctive grillwork on both front wings removed excessive heat from the engine bay while reducing interior noise. In addition, lightweight aluminium was used extensively for the bodywork, particularly for the doors, bonnet, boot lid and interior sheet metal. While the rest of the car utilised steel panels for the bodywork, the entire car, in ready-to-drive form, including the spare wheel, tool kit and fuel, tipped the scales at just 1,295 kilograms. Designed for high-speed, cross-country travel, the 300SL was equipped with a large 130-litre fuel tank.

From these highly successful sports-racing cars Mercedes-Benz developed the production model that was a pioneer of fuel injection. In production form, the Gullwing was built to the highest quality and had a standard of performance - 140mph top speed coupled with exceptional acceleration - that surpassed the offerings of rival manufacturers. (The Gullwing was by far the fastest production car of it's day). The result was that over a period stretching from late 1954 to April 1957 the Mercedes-Benz factory built 1400 of these magnificent cars.

This example, 5500677, is a 1955 car that was delivered new to New York and was supplied with the the very rare and most sought after option of Rudge Knock off wheels. It was originally finished in DB534 (Red), with 953 Black Leather. Rudge wheels were rare in period but rarer still that one remains with these today. To carry out the conversion today is very complex and expensive - It also of course wouldn't be original.

5500677 car remained in the U.S.A until purchased by the famous Matsuda collection in Japan (one of the greatest collections in the world that has included a 250 GTO, the Top Gun 356 speedster and many others). In 1999 Matsuda sold the car to F1 Supremo Bernie Ecclestone who's collection is renowned to be amongst the best maintained in Europe, at this point the car was U.K registered on the current registration number of "435 XUH". In 2012 DK purchased the car which had been in the hands of its second UK owner since 2007, spending most of the time in France, in the last 18 months the car has been treated to a bare-metal re-paint in DB190, Graphite Grey. The seats and carpets have recently been refinished by renowned Gullwing Expert Kevin O'Keefe, the rest of the interior is believed to be original.

The engine has been fully rebuilt in the last ten years and remains in good condition, having been in three of the world's finest collections the car has seen little usage and the speedometer reads just 20,000 miles. The car has matching chassis, engine and body numbers as well as the original Rudge Knock-off wheels. This is a great useable car with all the right attributes; a good file, famous ownership, originality, low mileage from new and a stunning colour combination. The Gullwing model has firmly inserted itself at the Blue chip end of the classic market with recent sales proving the models investment credentials and of course the prospect of a Mille Miglia entry must not be overlooked.

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  • Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing
  • £POA
  • DK Database ID: #380

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